[Market-farming] Bio- Plastics vs. plastic mulch

Rob Wallbridge rob at songberry.ca
Tue Mar 15 22:14:44 EDT 2011

I'd echo many of Rivka's comments and concerns. I've had really good
experience with BioTelo on my farm: it lays well with a mechanical layer
(best on cool mornings on properly-prepared soil, with NO tension on the
rollers), works well with a waterwheel transplanter, holds up fairly well,
and is completely gone by the next year. It is approved for certified
organic use here in Canada. Pricey, but no labour costs for removal and
nothing to haul to the landfill. I've never seen or heard of anybody using
the Weed Guard Plus product with a mechanical layer and waterwheel
transplanter - that's what concerns me most.


Rob Wallbridge

Songberry Organic Farm

24 Sixth Line, Bristol, QC J0X 1G0

rob at songberry.ca <mailto:songberry at songberry.com> 


facebook: "Songberry Organic Farm"

twitter: @songberryfarm


From: market-farming-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:market-farming-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Road's End
Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 4:53 PM
To: farmersue at myfairpoint.net; Market Farming
Subject: Re: [Market-farming] Bio- Plastics vs. plastic mulch



On Mar 15, 2011, at 3:43 PM, Sue Wells wrote:

Does anyone else have comments on Weed Guard Plus? Is this better than Bio




My comments on all such materials:


1) Check that the specific material actually breaks down leaving no harmful
residues. There has at one time or another been a lot of stuff on the market
being sold as "biodegradable" that didn't actually meet such standards. --
If it's acceptable for use by organic certifying agencies, somebody outside
the company selling it should have checked this. If it isn't, there are
multiple possible reasons, but I'd recommend doing your own checking. And I
wouldn't assume that because it's in a garden catalogue claiming it as
"organic" that it does in fact meet current standards; I still sometimes see
items so advertised that I know are not acceptable. When the USDA limited
the use of the word for food products, they declined to limit it for
companies selling garden and farm supplies.


2) Try the material out on a small scale in your own operation before
relying on it. Speed of breakdown can vary considerably depending on
weather, climate, soil type, and the microorganisms in the particular soil.
I've had edges buried in soil break down almost immediately after planting,
with the result that the wind picked the material up and flipped it over the
top of young transplants, doing damage. This was some years ago, and may not
apply to materials currently on the market; but you do need to check on your
own place, in case the particular material won't last as long as you need it
to, in your particular soil, for your particular uses. Also, some materials
may be hard to lay with some equipment, or may need different adjustment of
the equipment than you're used to, so that laying them properly may take



-- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 5 mostly

Fresh-market organic produce, small scale




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